University of Miami

No. 1 Canes to drop in polls after losing series

Hurricanes pitcher Danny Garcia (14) throws a pitch in this June 1, 2015, file photo.
Hurricanes pitcher Danny Garcia (14) throws a pitch in this June 1, 2015, file photo. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Come Monday, the No. 1 Miami Hurricanes will no longer reign in the college baseball polls.

The Hurricanes lost their first weekend set Sunday after winning seven series in a row, falling to 2015 national champion Virginia 7-3 at Mark Light Field.

The Canes, who have lost four of their past six games, also lost Friday in the first game of the series and against FAU on Wednesday. Their nation-leading 12-game winning streak was ended at Duke on April 16.

Before Sunday, the last time Miami had lost a series was Feb. 28 against then-No. 1 Florida.

“I’ve told them it’s nice,” Morris said of the No. 1 ranking, “but they’re not going to be raising any [championship] flag for us anytime soon. They don’t give that halfway through the season. We just need to keep… playing well and keep performing as a team and stay somewhere near the top.

“If it’s the top, great. But…the real deal is to be at the top when it’s over with.”

In the NCAA’s most recent release of the nation’s RPI leaders on Friday, Miami had the No. 3 RPI behind Florida and Louisville, with nine wins against current RPI Top-25 teams.

The Hurricanes (30-8, 14-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) still lead the Coastal Division of the ACC. The No. 2 team in the Coastal, North Carolina (26-15, 9-12), got swept by Wake Forest this weekend.

UVA (26-17, 11-10) was led by Daniel Pinero, who went 3 for 4, including a solo home run, with two RBI; and Matt Thaiss, who broke the 3-3 tie in the seventh with a two-RBI single.

The Canes, who lost only three games at home in the season’s first eight weeks, have dropped as many matchups in the past five days.

“We could have won today if we hadn’t made a couple mental mistakes and had gotten a big hit,” Morris said. “But we didn’t play well, offensively or defensively and mentally in this game. And when that happens, you’re not going to win against good teams — and they are a good team.’’

The Canes tied the score in the sixth on singles by Chris Barr and Zack Collins, a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Lopez and a groundout RBI by Johnny Ruiz. But with Jacob Heyward on first (walk) and Collins on third, Heyward was picked off to end the threat.

Another UM base-running mistake was made by Collins with no outs in the eighth and Virginia leading 5-3. Collins, who singled and got to second on Lopez’s hit, made a move toward third as Johnny Ruiz was about to bunt. UVA catcher Thaiss fired the ball to second and Collins, caught off base, was tagged out heading to third.

“Yeah, I made a mistake,” said Collins, who is hitting .425 and had a great game offensively with three hits, including a two-run homer in the fourth. “I got too big of a lead, they threw by me and I got thrown out.”

Said Heyward, who had an ESPN Top-10-worthy diving, sliding catch in the sixth: “We’ve been playing great all season. It’s a long season and things like this happen. We’ve just got to stay mentally focused and not make the mistakes that can cost us a game like that.”